LG’s plans to build a new global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey have caused quite a bit of controversy over the past two years. Opponents argue that the building’s proposed height of 143 feet will make it significantly taller than the other buildings in the area, creating an unwelcome distraction from the natural beauty of the green cliffs known as the Palisades.
Though the area’s current zoning laws limit building height to 35 feet, LG obtained a variance in 2012 that essentially cleared the way for construction on the building to begin. The state’s Superior Court initially upheld that decision, but it’s currently up for appeal, according to NJ.com.
The argument over the building’s height continues to heat up, as local and state government officials voice their opinions on how tall LG should be allowed to build.
Earlier this month, a bill to limit building height to 35 feet within 2,000 feet of the Palisades was advanced from the state’s Senate Environment and Energy Committee. According to NJ.com, the bill would create a “preservation zone” from Fort Lee to the state’s border with New York and would apply retroactively to any building that didn’t have a completed foundation by May 1.
LG is currently in the demolition phase of its 490,000-square-foot construction project.
The state Senate isn’t the only government entity to ask LG to reconsider its plans. Last week, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli wrote in a letter to LG that criticism from environmental and civic groups had created a “potential for reputational risk.”
DiNapoli is a trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, whose portfolio includes a $US10 million in LG stock.
In the letter, DiNapoli asked LG to reconsider a design that would fit better with the natural landscape.
“While I acknowledge that such a modification could increase the cost of the project, such a compromise could potentially save the company a substantial amount of money over the long term, when weighed against the potential for reputational harm and protracted legal expenses,” he wrote.
Preservationist group Protect the Palisades is circulating a petition to preserve the hills’ natural appearance. They have come up with renderings of how they imagine the area will look if other buildings of similar height were to be built near the Palisades.
LG spokesman John Taylor has said that the company would be willing to negotiate the building’s design.
“We’ve listened to concerns and are open to dialogue with the community,” Taylor said to Business Insider in May. “There’s been a lot of unwillingness on the other side, which is frustrating.”
In a press conference last week, Englewood Cliffs Mayor Joseph Parisi urged opponents of LG’s proposal to reach a compromise with the company. If LG decides to leave the city, it would cost Englewood Cliffs an estimated $US2.5 million in tax revenue.
“I want everyone to have an agreement of what the building should look like,” he said. “Remember, they can always say, ‘We’re out of here.'”
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